Over the Road Restaurant, Since 1957
This is a real stretch for a dining adventure, but I did enjoy some coffee and conversation.
I was driving the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma, when I decided to pull over at the newly renovated gas station and fast food stop.
I'm surprised anyone can resist a stop at this roadside... or rather roadtop stop!
I had another reason for stopping and it had to do with a page from a 1962 cookbook.
Don and I love traveling and stopping at restaurants that are featured in our vintage Ford Motor Cookbooks. However, I was driving alone and didn't have the book. I called Don in Texas and had him text me a photo of the page, featuring an image of the grand structure that once housed a gift shop, snack bar and The Broiler Room Restaurant.
Brand New Look
I parked and headed towards the doors, beneath the signs for Mc Donald's, Kum & Go and Subway. The fast food signs on the newly remodeled building, made it hard to imagine the days, when travelers stopped at the snack shop and locals dressed up to dine in the Broiler Room.
Luckily this new look was no shock, since it wasn't my first visit to the arched building. Don and I moved with our kids to Oklahoma over 25 years ago, so we've made a stop or two.
This is how it looked in 1992.
It was no longer the Glass House, but the World's Largest McDonald's!
Up to Second Floor
I woke up my travel legs by climbing the stairs to the spacious, fast food floor. I should have gotten a closer photo of the Will Rogers statue. I believe the famous Oklahoman was holding a lasso, not waving out the window.
Evidently in 1957, one of Will Rogers' sons, attended the opening of The Glass House. How many get to attend a celebration, above a turnpike... that's named after their dad?
Auto Art and More
There was more to look at, than 25 years ago.
There was an interesting piece of hanging art, as well as numerous displays about the history, of what is now called the Will Rogers Archway.
Maybe it was because I was up in the sky, but I felt like I was in an airport.
The few people I saw all appeared to be travelers, so that added to the airport feel.
Signs and Directions
Maybe it was the sign saying "Westbound to Tulsa" that made me feel like I was being guided to the proper terminal.
Maybe those signs are for the people who get woozy from the view and lose their sense of direction. You don't want to go down the wrong stairs and end up on the wrong side of the turnpike.
Table with a View
Next time I travel the turnpike, I'm packing a tablecloth and some china and crystal.
I'm going to order a Big Mac and a sparkling clear, soft drink. Then I'll spread out my feast with this view. This view was worthy of fine dining back in 1957. Why not now?
Proceeding with my Cookbook Adventure
Don and I usually travel with a couple of these crazy old cookbooks. If we're lucky enough to come across one of the featured restaurants, we take the book in and share with the server or cook. It's a lot more entertaining than it sounds.
But today I had no book and no desire to eat at McDonald's or Subway. Usually, I try to order the featured restaurant recipe, but I just ordered a coffee from McDonald's. I was pretty sure the young kid would not be amused when I stood at the counter and ordered the "Will Rogers Special". Then I would have to show him the picture on my phone and there wasn't a chance that he would get my humor at all. I know my limits.
Instead I went towards the gift shop, where a nice looking woman was working behind the counter. I struck up a conversation about the building's past.
A young customer heard my question and butted in. "Oh it's always been a Mc Donald's!" Faye knew better. She was born and raised in nearby Vinita and the Glass House was built when she was very young. When she was old enough, she and her sister walked 2 miles just to buy the lollipops in the gift shop and ride the escalator. She said the place was very popular and held events and proms. She also knew that it had been a Howard Johnson's for a short while. She laughed when I told her my husband had texted me a picture of The Glass House from the old cookbook. She smiled while she studied the beef tenderloin recipe and illustration. I didn't ask if she'd ever dined in the Broiler Room. I figure she would have told me if she had.
Coffee With a View
Before taking off, I had another conversation with a trucker and his grown daughter. He talked about Amish food in Indiana. She talked about taking selfies, while riding in the truck.
I'm sad there are no trucks whizzing by in my photo. But I'll come again and snap more photos... after I set up my table with cloth and china. I'll bring the book, too!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.